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Blagojevich, Others Await Sentencing

CHICAGO, Aug. 15 (UPI) — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption conviction means others charged in the federal investigation will soon know their fate, officials said.

Blagojevich will be sentenced Oct. 6 for his role in what federal prosecutors have called “Operation Board Games,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday.

Last week U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve sentenced former Democratic fundraiser Joseph A. Cari Jr. to three years probation, sparing him a prison term.

Cari pleaded guilty nearly six years ago to attempted extortion and he has cooperated with investigators. He was part of a plan in 2004 to extort money from an investment company seeking business from Blagojevich’s administration.

Cari is one of 17 people charged in Operation Board Games. Charges against Robert Blagojevich, the ex-governor’s brother, were dropped.

Another Blagojevich associate, Christopher G. Kelly, committed suicide in 2009, shortly before he was to scheduled to turn himself in and begin a prison term.

Among those awaiting sentencing is Stuart P. Levine, 65. He was a top Republican fundraiser and contributor to Blagojevich’s political campaigns.

He admitted to using his appointments to two Illinois state boards to plan multimillion-dollar extortion schemes designed to enrich himself and others, including Blagojevich adviser Tony Rezko.

Rezko, 56, was convicted of conspiring with Levine and using his influence with Blagojevich to illegally profit from state business.

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